The retrovirus spreading through the koala population is bad news. But studies of the koala infection have led scientists to a surprising discovery: a “second immune system” in the species, according to research published on Saturday in the journal Cell.
This system, which the researchers think exists in all mammals, has a role fighting off viruses that are in the same class as deadly human diseases such as HIV. This “second immune system” may illuminate new ways to treat HIV, said Damian Purcell, who heads up virology research at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Scientists have managed to reconstruct the route by which HIV arrived in the US – exonerating once and for all the man long blamed for the ensuing pandemic in the west.
Using sophisticated genetic techniques, an international team of researchers have revealed that the virus emerged from a pre-existing epidemic in the Caribbean, arrived in New York by the early 1970s and then spread westwards across the US.
With drug-resistant strains of sexually-transmitted infection gonorrhoea increasing, scientists from Brighton, Oxford University and Public Health England have found that genetic sequencing can track the spread of infection. They show coordinated national and international strategies are required to stop drug-resistance spreading further.
Their study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU), is published in The Lancet Infectious Disease.
Australian researchers have used cutting-edge genome technologies to reveal the genetic makeup of a widespread skin parasite causing serious health problems in Aboriginal communities. The research team identified the genetic ‘map’ of the human parasitic scabies mite, accelerating research that could lead to new ways of preventing and treating scabies infestations and prevent lifelong complications for people in remote Aboriginal communities.